Fixing a tear in a wetsuit

A couple weeks ago, Chris and I drove over to our favorite beach spot in St. Petersburg, FL to do a little open water swimming.  I was pretty bummed to look down, once I had gotten my wetsuit on, that I had about a 2 inch tear in the left upper leg area into the neoprene.  It looked like it was most likely the result of a fingernail puncture that tore open the material.  I always try to be super careful putting on and taking off my wetsuit but stuff like this just happens.

I knew that neoprene wetsuits were able to be repaired sometimes, but I honestly had no idea how to do it, or what I would need to use.  I searched online and watched a few helpful videos, and decided it was worth a try.  My wetsuit is a sleeveless XTERRA vortex suit, that I was so lucky to find on a Facebook triathlon buy-sell-trade page used, from another woman who’d only worn it a few times.  I lucked out – I purchased it from her, she shipped it, it fit me perfectly immediately, and I love it!  I was really hoping I could save this suit.  I have race entries to pay for!!

After reading a bunch of product reviews, I decided to head over to Amazon and purchase what I decided was the winner:  M Essentials Seal Cement neoprene contact adhesive in black.  This product got great reviews in the area of wetsuit repair, so I decided to try it out.

The seal cement was a little sticky, and it came with a brush that I decided was a little too large for the size tear I was repairing, so instead I used a paperclip.  It is really important to spread the tear open, and then you apply a thin layer of the seal cement to the inside of the tear.  Once you have done this, let it sit 5-10 minutes, spread apart as shown in the picture above.  Then repeat this step, and spread another thin layer of the seal cement on the inside of the tear.  Let that sit another 5-10 minutes, so it becomes slightly tacky and begins to dry.

Once you’ve let the cement sit out a while, then press the edges of the tear together so they come together in a clean line.  I pressed mine together and held for about 30 seconds or so, and then I placed a heavy vase on top of the repaired area for a few hours, to ensure it bonded and stayed flat.

I was really happy with the results – the tear is barely visible now!  Also, even better – it has held up through pulling it on and another short open water swim, and the repair seems very durable.  I was really relieved that the tear was so easily fixed, and I’m glad I have this product on hand in case I need to do another neoprene repair in the future.  Happy swimming!!



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